Dr. Rachel Bari
Associate Professor Dept. of P. G. Studies in English
Kuvempu University Jnana Sahyadri Shankaraghatta-577451
Shimoga Dist. Karnataka.
Mohammed Sagheer Ahmed Al-fasly
Ph. D. Scholar Dept. of P. G. Studies in English
Kuvempu University Jnana Sahyadri Shankaraghatta- 577451
Shimoga Dist. Karnataka.
The signals that people send out with their eyes are very expressive and understandable. Some of us can read the language of eyes naturally; some others are not sufficiently intuitive to understand the meaning. Nevertheless, the language of eyes is one of the most powerful medium of nonverbal communication. Language of the eyes is wordless, and it can either support or betray whatever you are saying. Actually, the eye expresses its language honestly without conveying any form of lie. If the person cannot express what is going on in his heart and his mind, his eyes will reveal those feelings. Even the slightest movement of the eyes can indicate the biggest meaning. Through the eyes of the speaker, you can analyze his personality, and you can know whether he loves or hates you. Indeed, to know whether a person loves or hates someone, try to understand his looks. So, eyes show what a person does not sometime want to reveal such as love, hatred, desire, etc. Love, romance and flirtation can best be expressed through eyes. In short, different emotions and mood can be expressed through gazing, glancing, winking, squinting, closing, and staring. If you know how to read and understand the language of eyes, you will know who the person you are conversing with and what he wants to tell you. With respect to the speaker, if he knows properly how to use the language of eyes, he can take control of what is going through his mind.
The subject of the language of eyes seems to be more suitable for psychological studies especially when we talk about the movements of eyes and the meaning of each movement. However, the importance of eyes’ expression in literature is fascinating especially when it regards love and hatred. To give sufficient description for the language of eyes in the plays of Behn, I have chosen three genres, a tragedy Abdelazer, a tragicomedy The Forced Marriage, and a comedy The Rover. The word “eye” is used around 49 times in Abdelazer, around 41 times in The Forced Marriage and around 22 times in The Rover. This indicates to the importance of the expressions of eyes in the service of emotion.
Abdelazer is a tragedy, so the using of “eye” mainly indicates to hatred and, even if it is sometimes denotes love, it is abominable love. At the beginning of the play, Queen Isabella chides Abdelazer, the hero of the play, for not exchanging love with her and not giving her as much consideration as she expects. She admonishes him, “Whilst in my Eyes, needing no other Glass, / Thou shalt behold and wonder at thy beauty” (Abd.1.1.[43-44]). The Queen does not only chide Abdelazer, her main lover, but she also chides her old lover Mendozo, the Cardinal. Once when she is with Mendozo trying to convince him to help Abdelazer by withdrawing his army from the side of her son Philip and put it in the side of Abdelazer, she reminds him of their love. Then she chides him for not loving her as before because her eyes have become idle. She gently reproves him, “Is’t thus, my Lord, you give me proofs of Love? / Have then my eyes lost all their wonted power? /And can you quit the hope of gaining me” (Abd.2.1.[80-82]). Her sweet words make Mendozo turn against his prince, and because of this treason, Abdelazer gets victory and her son is held captive.
In his turn, Abdelazer understands the needs of women through their eyes. He interprets the Queen’s eyes as “Thy face and eyes! … / And thou shalt see the balls of both those eyes / Burning with fire of Lust” (Abd.1.1.[52-54]). Abdelazer does not consider her a woman worthy of love, but a woman of lust. Joyce Green MacDonald explains Abdelazer’s view towards the Queen:
This distaste for Isabella’s sexual appetite is further underlined by Abdelazer’s assertion that it has made them both deviate from their socially proper roles. Recall that Abdelazer, a prince in his own country, humiliatingly believes that others will see him as having been reduced to the status of the queen’s “Minion” by his sexual subjection. (154)
The Queen is a woman of lust as Abdelazer calls her. Indeed, her relation with Abdelazer does not hold to be a kind of love, it is only a kind of lust. Hence, it is strange to hear her telling Abdelazer that she has left everything to get his love in spite of his disparagement. For this reason, her role in the play is silly and unacceptable. Undoubtedly, her role in the play is intolerable, and it is designed very strangely and contributes to the weirdness of the plot. In addition, it gives a negative impression about the value of motherhood in general. Behn is able to present her as a beautiful Queen but a suffering wife whose act is almost good for Abdelazer. It is very strange to see the Queen sacrifice her family and her social status as a queen of Spain in order to marry Abdelazer. However, the Queen seems to be sick of lust that is why she is seeking a new lover while she is still a wife for the King. If she is having a sexual relation with Abdelazer in secrecy and without committing any crime, it is perhaps acceptable at least to some people. Melinda Alliker Rabb lists some of her crimes. She says, “The lascivious queen commits adultery, incest, and murder, yet survives and is pardoned” (143). However, love is destructive especially if it has been changed into lust. Thus, the lustful Isabella devotes all her life to the service of Abdelazer; at the same time, she does not realize that she is a married woman and a mother of three, she is the Queen, and her position is very sensitive. Despite Abdelazer’s disgust for the Queen, he praises her eyes at the time when she shows him resentment. He knows well that if he loses the Queen, it means he loses her help. So, he flirts with her, “My Queen, my Goddess, Oh raise your lovely eyes” (Abd.1.1.).
It is not only Abdelazer who knows the wicked personality of the Queen, but it is also Alonzo. Alonzo is the future husband of the Queen’s daughter Loenora, and he is the brother of Florella, the wife of Abdelazer. Alonzo understands the wicked personality of the Queen through
her eyes. The Queen facilitates the meeting between her first son Fernando and Florella, the wife of Abdelazer. When she makes sure that the two are together, she sends her woman to Alonzo to tell him to come. However, she pretends to be sad as she reports the match between her son and his sister. Alonzo understands the ulterior motive for telling him this story exactly at this time. He remarks, “It must be strange indeed, that makes my Queen / Dress her fair eyes in sorrow” (Abd.3.2.[47-48]). Ironically, she looks worried with sunken cheeks and hollow eyes not because she does not like the match between her son and Florella, but because she wants to get rid of Florella to be alone with Abdelazer. So, her eyes reflect exactly what is going on in her mind. Alonzo does not suspect his sister because he knows well her loyalty to her husband. However, Alonzo understands that the Queen intends to do something through her eyes, and his suspicion is soon justified. She invites Alonzo to be a witness to the meeting. She takes him to Florella’s Chamber where the King Fernando is supposed to be. Unfortunately, they enter at the time when Florella is holding a dagger warning the King that she will kill herself. Florella intends to commit suicide instead of committing adultery. The Queen uses this scene, where Florella is holding the dagger, as a chance to get rid of her. Without further delay, she snatches the dagger from Florella and stabs her to death, claiming that Florella wants to kill the King. This claim is false because in fact she has decided to murder Florella in order to get Abdelazer for herself. When Alonzo makes sure of the Queen’s treason, he goes out to bring soldiers. Because she is a woman of lust, she leaves the crime scene to enable Abdelazer to kill her son. Abdelazer enters and finds his wife murdered. He does not ask about the real killer of his wife because her murder is not important. The most important task is to get rid of the King, so he should not let the chance go by. When the King is killed, she comes back murmuring: “Oh Heav’ns! my Son the King! the King is kill’d! / Yet I must save his Murderer: Fly, my Moor” (Abd.3.3.[192-93]). It is really unacceptable to find a mother who does not care of her murdered son, but she cares and tries to save his murderer. Strangely, she intends to save Abdelazer and to exonerate him from this murder.
The Queen supports Abdelazer with all her power to fulfill his wicked ambition. When he feels that the Queen will be an obstacle in the way of marrying her daughter, he orders Roderigo to kill her. So, one can say that she falls into the same trap. She is murdered on the command of her lover Abdelazer.
Abdelazer sees the eyes of the Queen as “Burning with fire of Lust,” but he interprets the looks of Leonora in a different way. Ironically, Abdelazer accuses the Queen of lust because he knows well that she is under his control. However, he praises the eyes of her daughter Loenora because he wants to marry her. So, he is ready to please her by all possible means. He describes her eyes, “By yon bright Sun, or your more splendid Eyes / I woul’d divest my soul of every hope, / To gratify one single wish of yours” (Abd.5.1.[375-77]). He also says, “Your Eyes insensibly do wound and kill!” (Abd.5.1.). When Leonora refuses to marry him, he reassures her that he will amend his eyes to suit her. He assures her: “I could even teach my Eyes the Art / To change their natural fierceness into smiles. / What is’t I wou’d not do to gain that heart” (Abd.5.1.[495-97]). At the beginning, he and the Queen exchange love, but when he gets satisfied of the Queen, he orders Roderigo to murder her. Then he decides to marry her daughter, Alonzo’s fiancée; it is because he sees in her eyes: “In your bright Eyes there is, that may corrupt ’em more, / Than all the Treasures of the Eastern Kings” (Abd.5.1.[628-29]). In Abdelazer’s interpretation, the eyes of the Queen are completely different from the eyes of her daughter. The Queen’s eyes are a reflection of her sexual lust, infidelity and ugliness while Leonora’s eyes are a sign of her beauty and innocence.
On the other hand, Abdelazer’s eyes have their own meaning from the viewpoint of Philip. Philip, Queen’s second son who also an experienced interpreter of eyes, suspects Abdelazer and reads the evil in his eyes. Philip says, “Why stares the Devil thus, as if he meant / From his infectious eyes to scatter Plagues” (Abd.2.1.[1-2]). He is the one who regards Abdelazer a criminal from the beginning; it is because he comprehends the signs of his eyes. Philip states, “I saw him dart Revenge, from both his Eyes / And bite his angry Lip between his teeth” (Abd.2.2.[125-26]). Meanwhile, Abdelazer has his own interpretation about his eyes. He feels that his eyes are a symbol of power but not of revenge and treason as Philip says. He boastfully tells The Queen about her son Philip:
And with the awfull splendour of my Eyes Like the Imperious Sun, dispers’d the Clouds. But I must Combat now a fierce Foe,
The hot – brain’d Philip, and a jealous Cardinal. (Abd.4.1.[11-14])
In short, the expressions of eyes in this play denote hatred more than love even if the speakers recall their eyes to express love.
The Forced Marriage
In The Forced Marriage, the importance of eyes lies on the fear of the lover whether his/her partner is loyal or disloyal. As in Abdelazer the eyes denote hatred, in this play, eyes denote love, but the love that is mixed with suspicion; however, love triumphs at the end.
Aminta does not show Alcander any love because she has suffered in her first love with another man. She loved that man madly, but she also “left him for a faithless crime; / But then I languisht even to death for him” (F.M.1.2.[53-54]). Because of this painful experience, she keeps her love to Alcander secret. Pisaro, Aminta’s brother, is aware of his sister’s hesitation whether to reveal her love to Alcander or not. He is also aware of the suffering of Alcander. Indeed, he is able to tell from the expression of their faces that they love each other. He observes Alcander’s suffering through his eyes, but he wants to hear him say what is going in his mind. He tells Alcander:
Prythee, Alcander now we talk of her,
How go the Amours ‘twixt you and my wild sister; Can you speak yet, or do you tell your tale
With eyes and sighs, as you were wont to do. (F.M.1.1.[204-07])
Certainly, Aminta loves Alcander too much, but her intention in keeping it secret is to increase his love towards her. She thinks if she shows him love, he will be confident and then he will not come to her to seek her love as before. She does not even tell Olinda about her love with her brother Alcander, but on the insistence of Olinda on knowing her real feeling, she reveals her fervent love for him, yet she also decides to keep it secret. She confesses: “Yes, Olinda, and you shall know its meaning, / I love Alcander – and am not asham’d o’th’ secret, / But prithee do not tell him what I say” (F.M.2.2.[45-47]). However, her carelessness of not showing him love may have negative consequences because the man she loves may leave her and seek another woman that shows him love. This is nearly about to happen. Alcander leaves her angrily, telling her he leaves her for Falatius, another man who falls in unrequited love with her. When she realizes that she will lose Alcander, she frankly tells him she loves him.
On the other hand, Gallatea and Erminia are close friends. They share ideas and consult each other. They often exchange their joys and sorrows. However, they are friends and remain friends so long as their interests are not in conflict, but their friendship may end when they love the same man. Gallatea in times suspects Erminia of getting Alcippus. Gallatea loves Alcippus;
unfortunately, he marries Erminia. Erminia visits Gallatea to express her sorrow about her marriage to the man she does not love. Gallatea sees Erminia’s suffering in her eyes. She tells her, “Thy Eyes, Erminia, do declare thy heart / Has nothing but despairs and death t’impart” (F.M.1.2.[67-68]). Actually, Erminia is suffering because she is forced to marry Alcippus, but she reassures Gallatea that she does not love him. Meanwhile, Erminia understands Gallatea’s love for Alcippus through her eyes. So, she tells Gallatea, “Your cause of grief too much like mine appears, / Not to oblige my eyes to double tears” (F.M.1.2.[75-76]). When both friends make sure that they do not love the same man, they indulge in a bout of weeping for their misfortunes.
Gallatea is convinced that Erminia does not love Alcippus, but she warns her of his eyes. She feels that if Erminia concentrate on his eyes, she will love him because his eyes are full of love. Indeed, she is afraid that Erminia may not be able to resist the temptation of Alcippus’s eyes. So, she advises her:
Erminia, guard thee from his Eyes,
Where so much love, and so much Beauty lies:
Those charms may conquer thee, which made me bow,
And make thee love as well as break this Vow. (F.M.1.2.[119-22])
Gallatea knows well that men and women are affected by the looks of the opposite sex. Therefore, she warns Erminia of the eyes of Alcippus; meanwhile she encourages her to contemplate the love that comes from the eyes of Philander. However, Karen Harvey states the difference between the looks of men and women. She writes:
Men’s vision was manipulated by women in order to arouse and perpetuate male desire, rather than to protect men’s attractiveness. While women received and transmitted desire in the ocular language of pleasure, the primary purpose of their eyes was to signal willingness and attractiveness. The involuntary appearance and behaviour of women’s eyes indicated a perpetual receptivity and the inevitability of passive consent. (215)
Furthermore, Gallatea warns Erminia not to let Alcippus have sex with her because it will kill Philander. She also reminds her of the fervent love of Philander for her. Gallatea intends by her speech to keep Erminia away from Alcippus. But Erminia is already in love with Philander, and she does not need such words to strengthen her love for him because she can read Philander’s torture and fervent love in his eyes. Erminia tells Gallatea:
Ah, Madam, do not tell me how he dies, I’ve seen too much already in his eyes: They did the sorrows of his soul betray, Which need not be exprest another way:
‘Twas there I found what my misfortune was,
Too sadly written in his lovely face. (F.M.1.2.[133-38])
Gallatea considers Erminia’s birthplace humble because she was born in a cottage. Despite her humble birthplace, Gallatea feels that Erminia is able to attract Philander by her eyes. She tells her, “Your eyes did first Philanders soul inspire” (F.M.3.3.). Then she advises her to keep her eyes on Philander and not look to any other man; otherwise, Philander will be wounded. She tells Erminia, “Remember ’tis a Prince that does adore, / Who offers up a heart that never found / It could receive, till from your eyes, a wound” (F.M.3.3.[56-58]).
Philander commits an error when he does not tell his father, the King, of his love with Erminia. Therefore, the King blesses the marriage of Alcippus and Erminia. However, when all
characters meet in Act Two Scene One and when the music is softly playing, the looks the characters exchange are mixed with love and hatred. Those who are in love look at each other passionately, while the rivals are staring at each other with eyes full of hatred. Each look displays the inner suffering of the person concerned. With his sword half drawn, Philander gazes at his rival Alcippus. Erminia fixes her eyes on Philander, her lover. Galatea looks passionately at Alcippus. Pisaro passionately gazes on Galatea. In this critical situation, Philanders talks to his sister about the feeling of Erminia towards her forced marriage to Alcippus. He reads her suffering in her eyes. He tells Gallatea:
‘Tis done, ’tis done, the fatal knot is ti’de, Erminia to Alcippus is a Bride; Methinks I see the motions of her Eyes,
And how her Virgin-breasts do fall and rise: Her bashful blush, her timorous desire, Adding new Flame to his too vigorous fire;
Whilst he the charming Beauty must embrace (F.M.2.1.[1-7])
Erminia’s eyes make Philander sure that she is innocent because it is not she who chooses Alcippus. Philander tells his sister: “Such charms of Innocence her Eyes do dress, / As would confound the cruel’st Murderess” (F.M.2.1.[80-81]). Gallatea is pleased to hear her brother talk about Erminia in a way as if he intends to get her from Alcippus, her husband. Meanwhile, she warns her brother about carrying out his threat to kill Alcippus. But now she understands from Philander’s eyes that he may forgive Alcippus if he gets Erminia. Gallatea tells him, “I’de have thy eyes more Love than anger wear” (F.M.2.1.). This is really what happens at the end. When Philander retrieves Erminia, he gives his sister to Alcippus. In fact, Alcippus hates Philander because his wife loves him, and Philander is full of anger because Alcippus has taken his lover.
Later, Pisaro explains these different looks of the characters towards each other to a page. He observes the fervent love between Philander and Erminia, the hatred between Philander and Alcippus, and Gallatea’s love for Alcippus. In fact, Pisaro loves Gallatea, but he changes his mind when he observes that she cannot take her eyes off Alcippus. So, he intends not to love the girl that loves his friend. However, the expression of Philander’s face, as it is read by Pisaro, shows his intention to kill Alcippus. Pisaro states the expressions of their eyes and faces:
I saw her lovely eyes still turn on him,
As Flowers to th’Sun: and when he turn’d away Like those, she bow’d her charming head again.
-On th’other side the Prince with dying looks Each motion watch’d of fair Erminia’s eyes, Which she return’d as greedily again,
And if one glance t’ Alcippus she directed,
He’d stare as if he meant to cut his throat for’t. (F.M.2.5.[31-38])
Pisaro also tells Alcippus about Gallatea’s love: “Till by her eyes I found that she was mortal” (F.M.3.1.). Pisaro is right in his interpretation of the eyes of Gallatea. She is fond of Alcippus, but Alcippus’s eyes are still on Erminia. He does not imagine himself as a husband for the daughter of the King. However, Pisaro reminds him of the honour he will receive from marrying Gallatea. He advises him:
Set Galateas charms before your eyes, Think of the glory to divide a Kingdom.
And do not waste your Noble youth and time,
Upon a peevish heart you cannot gain. (F.M.3.1.[130-33])
Regarding Alcippus’s marriage with Erminia, Alcippus does not know that Gallatea loves him. Surely, if he knew her love, he would marry her instead of Erminia because Gallatea is the daughter of the King while Erminia is only the daughter of the former General. Once, when Alcippus and Erminia are in their bedchamber, Alcippus is aware of Erminia’s suffering from her eyes: “But still methinks Erminia you are sad, / A heaviness appears in those fair eyes” (F.M.2.3.[1-2]). Then he asks her, “Why are thy eyes declin’d?” (F.M.2.3.). Erminia tells him frankly that she does not love him, but she loves Philander. She continues to tell him that she has married him under force. So, she considers him a brother. Alcippus tries to sleep with her, but she also refuses to share him his bed. So, Alcippus gets angry, and his eyes reveal exactly what is going on in his mind. Erminia tells him, “Whatever rage you threaten from your eyes / Yes – you may disapprove this flame in me / But cannot hinder what the Gods decree” (F.M.2.3.[75-77]). Alcippus does not harm her at this time, yet he tries to convince her of his love. He prays her to sleep with him because he cannot tolerate the beauty that comes from her eyes. He tells her:
Thou – hast disarm’d my rage, and in its room A world of shame and softer passions come, Such as the first efforts of love inspir’d,
When by thy charming eyes my soul was fir’d. (F.M.2.3.[88-91])
As a matter of duty towards her husband, she tries to be kind to him, but she never subjugates herself to his desire. Ironically, Alcippus tells her, “Thy blushes do betray thy willingness, / And in thy lovely Eyes I read success” (F.M.2.3.). It is however the “success” of her insistence to keep her virginity. She has promised Philander that she will be only his, and she is keeping her promise. To protect herself from Alcippus, she uses her weapon; it is weeping. When Alcippus sees her weeping, he considers her tears as a weapon that cuts his heart: “Sent those more powerful weapons from your eyes” (F.M.3.3.). Nearly at the end when he has strangled her because he suspects her of disloyalty, believing that she is dead, he tells Pisaro, “Now I shall read no terror in her eyes” (F.M.4.6.). Furthermore, Alcippus’s eyes are full of love, but after strangling Erminia, he feels that “My eyes all bloody, – and my hanging lids, / Like Midnight’s mischief, hide the guilty Balls” (F.M.5.2.[49-50]). When Alcippus tries to strangle Erminia, she does not die as Alcippus thinks, but she falls into a coma. Then the play ends when Philander marries Erminia and Alcippus marries Gallatea.
The language of eyes in this play revolves around love. Florinda and Belvile are in love, but Pedro, her brother, insists on marrying her to his friend Antonito. Hellena intervenes and supports her sister in her choice. She argues that if Pedro really loves his sisters as he claims, he should help Florinda to choose her partner but not force her to marry his friend, the man she does not love. Pedro gets angry at hearing Hellena talk about the value of love despite the fact that she is still young. He tells her, “Has your nunnery breeding taught you to understand the value of hearts and eyes?” (Rover.1.1.81-82). Nunnery has not taught Hellena the value of love, yet she feels the suffering of her sister, and she recognizes her suffering through her eyes. Actually, Hellena has not loved any one until now, but when she meets Willmore for the first time, she is attracted to his “horrible loving eyes” (Rover.1.2.156). Therefore, it can be said that Hellena, or any other lover, does not need to be taught how to love or to be loved. Love is a kind of sense and it can be better expressed through eyes. In his turn, Willmore searches for women who have
pretty eyes. However, both Hellena and Willmore are attracted to each other from the first meeting, it is because they exchange the language of eyes. In this meeting, they do not become fully acquainted with each other. Willmore is not only attracted to Hellena but also to Angellica, a prominent and much-admired courtesan.
Willmore does not know Angellica, but Belvile praises her as “she’s now the only adored beauty of all the youth in Naples…” then he continues to say that it is the lucky man who can “attract the eyes of this fair Charmer” (Rover.1.2.305,308). Willmore urges his friends to take him to this pretty lady. Willmore, Belvile, Frederick and Blunt go to meet her; unfortunately, they cannot pay the required money to be able to sleep with her. Only Pedro and Antonio are able to pay the required money, yet they fight for the priority because each one of them declares that he is the first one who wins Angellica. They start fighting despite the fact they are friends. Because they are in disguise, they do not know each other, but Pedro is able to recognize Antonio when he utters the name of Florinda. However, Willmore and Blunt enter and break them up.
Willmore sees a small picture of Angellica, so he wants to take it, but Antonio does not allow him to take it, so another fight break out between Willmore and his English friends on one side and Antonio and his Spanish friends on the other. Angellica enters and asks Willmore to speak with her inside to calm the chaos. Belvile and Frederick are afraid that Angellica may harm Willmore, but Angellica reassures them that she will not harm him because she has no weapon except her eyes: “Fear not sir, all I have to wound with is my eyes” (Rover.2.1.275). This is exactly what happens. Willmore is attracted to the beauty of her eyes and she is attracted to his sweet words. Willmore assures her that he is really wounded by her eyes, and there is only one way to be cured; it is to sleep with her: “And soon will cure those wounds your eyes have made” (Rover.2.2.65). By his sweet words, he is able to persuade her to sleep with him. Angellica has never loved anyone before and because “His words go through me to the very soul” (Rover.2.2.70), she has fallen in love with him. Therefore, she lets him sleep with her for free.
Willmore has been inside with Angellica for two hours, so his friends Belvile, Frederick and Blunt have come to retrieve him. As soon as Willmore leaves Angellica’s house, he meets Hellena who is in disguise, so he starts courting in her eyes. At the time when Willmore begins to flirt with Hellena, Angellica comes in disguise and sees Willmore betray the vows he has made to her. However, Hellena understands that he wants to see her face. So, she frankly tells him, “I have considered, captain, that a handsome woman has a great deal to do whilst her face is good…” (Rover.3.1.170-72). When he sees her face, he bursts into praises of her beauty: “By heaven, I never saw so much beauty! Oh the charms of those sprightly black eyes!…” (Rover.3.1.187-88). In her turn, Hellena knows that Willmore was with Angellica, but when she pretends that she does not know with whom he was, he tells her, he was with a man friend. So, Hellena again asks him in a way conveys too much criticism: “And was’t your man friend that had more darts in’s eyes than Cupid carries in a whole budget of arrows?” (Rover.3.1.231-32). Surely, the arrow of the eyes can hit only the opposite sex because eyes never convey love of a man towards a man; the normal love that eyes can express well is the love between the opposite sexes. In short, Willmore is attracted to Angellica’s eyes, so he was with her and not with a man as he claims.
When Angellica feels that Willmore is interested in Hellena, and there is no way to retrieve him, she reveals her suffering in her soliloquy. She says: “In vain I have consulted all my charms, / In vain this beauty prized, in vain believed / My eyes could kindle any lasting fires”
(Rover.4.3.399). One can feel Angellica’s suffering. At the time when she truly loves Willmore, he leaves her. She thinks the reason is perhaps her eyes which attract Willmore, so he and all other men become slaves to this power and not to real love. She states, “I should have thought all men were born my slaves, / And worn my Pow’r like lightning in my eyes” (Rover.5.1.269-70). Then nearly at the end of the play, she points to Willmore and decides:
I’d not have sold my interest in his heart For all the sword has won and lost in battle. But now to show my utmost of contempt,
I give thee life – which if thou wouldst preserve,
Live where my eyes may never see thee more (Rover. 5.1.336-40)
On the other hand, Blunt and Lucetta interpret the looks of each other according to their desires. Lucetta, a “jilting wench,” begins to seduce him at the first meeting and because he is attracted to her eyes and influenced by her looks, he does not believe his friends that this woman is a thief and a prostitute. He believes that they are jealous. Unfortunately, he enters her bedroom undressed to his shirt and drawers. Ironically, he with a candle in his hand goes toward the bed where Lucetta is supposed to be, but she asks him to “put out the light, it may betray us else.” He proudly replies that he does not need the light because he “need[s] no other light but that of thine eyes!” (Rover.3.3.16-17). When the room is dark, she leaves the bed using a trapdoor system. Blunt stumbles around and then falls through another trapdoor. Then Lucetta, her servant, and her pimp enter and steal Blunt’s money. So, his remark that her eyes are enough to take him to her bed is so quickly achieved but in an inverse way; her eyes take him into the sewers instead of the bed.
To sum up, whenever there is a use of the word “eye” in these three plays, it superficially indicates to love, yet the eyes sometimes reflect the opposite. It really reflects what is going in the mind and heart. In Abdelazer, it is noticeable that the word “eye” denotes hatred more than love even if the speaker intends to use the expression of his eyes to show love. In fact, his love is used as a way to control others as in Abdelazer’s case, so it is his eyes which expose his real feelings. In The Forced Marriage, the characters exchange love through eyes, yet their eyes sometimes betray them to express love well for a matter of suspicion. This suspicion is because of the serious action in the play, so the person who falls in love needs much consideration from his lover, the other party, yet the other party is also busy of his problem. However, love triumphs at the end especially when both parties exchange mutual love. In The Rover, eyes play big roles in love among lovers. It is right that some characters do not succeed in their love because of the unrequited love, but this does not mean that the language of eyes are different from the spoken language. Both the language of eyes and the spoken language correspond with each other and focus on love more than something else.
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